Global Church Planting Network

Accelerating Church Planting Globally

Persecution and Passion

In 2020, there were 85 cases of persecution reported to an African indigenous ministry that is involved in reaching unreached people groups and multiplying disciple-making movements. Almost all of those cases of persecution involved new disciples who have recently come to faith in Jesus through one of the ministry’s disciple-making movements. The persecution came from those who practice the faith from which the recent believers turned. There were deaths and beatings, and a large number of the new disciples had to flee their village. They travelled a long distance with what they could carry and finally found a village that welcomed them. The ministry coordinated relief through grassroots leaders and sent resources to help the refugees resettle. Already, the new residents are having an impact in the village! They continue to pray for persons of peace, share their faith, and invite neighbors to join in a Discovery Bible Group.

Another case of persecution involved a disciple who had left the “faith of his birth.” Because of this, he was being shamed by his community, he lost his job, and he was forced to leave his community. The ministry team in the area is providing spiritual and emotional care and facilitated an income-generating activity for this brother, who has a readiness and a passion to go make disciples among his own community that threw him out. God has redeemed this terrible situation and used fellow-disciples to help him turn what was a display of shame into an opportunity of praise of the Lord Jesus.
Please pray that hostile relatives and communities would open their hearts to Christ. And pray for the disciples to be strengthened in faith to endure persecution and that they will remain obedient to Jesus.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it has hated you.” John 15:18 (ESV)

Total Transformation

In a village inhabited by over 100 families, team members had been conducting prayer walks and sharing the gospel for 5 years, but the villagers were totally resistant to the gospel. That would soon change when a girl from there was referred by the district administration and admitted to a children’s hostel. After coming to the hostel, the girl accepted the Lord, and she requested the team to pray for her village and visit the houses. Two brothers who had completed their studies in a Bible school visited the community for practical training. They were invited to pray for a man who was paralysed, the brother of the village chief. The Lord healed the paralysed man immediately!

This incident opened the eyes of the village chief. He was a strong supporter of another religious group, but after this miraculous healing, he accepted the Lord. The moment the chief accepted the Lord, he became very enthusiastic and wanted to share the gospel with the entire village. He also requested to start worship in the community right away. A foundation stone was laid for a place of worship, and construction was started that same night. Within a week’s time the construction was completed. Since then, regular worship is being conducted in the village and the whole village attends the worship meeting.

The people were filled with such a joy and the elder brother of the chief was so impressed that he volunteered to donate a plot for construction of a larger church building to accommodate 500 people. The whole town participated in the dedication service, with over 500 people attending it. In addition, the entire community is delivered from alcohol, which had enslaved the people for generations! Today no alcohol is permitted to enter the village.

Within the short span of one year, the villagers visited other communities with the gospel, and the Lord established 12 new places as house churches. Many more people are being added to the Lord because of the transformation of this village!

COVID-19 Relief Funds and Gospel Breakthroughs

COVID-19 relief funds received and distributed through GCPN continue to have an impact around the world. In one region of Africa, at least 300 families in seven rural villages have been reached through a “food evangelism outreach.” The total number of persons within these 300 households were 2,626 people which includes husbands, wives, widows, and children. Through the outreach, there were also gospel breakthroughs among two unreached tribes!

Access to one of these unreached tribes through the food evangelism outreach led to the salvation of the imam of the largest mosque in that area. Not only did he and his family benefit, but now he is the “man of peace” among his tribe and is being exposed to Discovery Bible Studies. Another beneficiary of the food outreach was a man and his wife. The wife had a history of six miscarriages, usually happening when her pregnancy was between the fifth and sixth month. Believers prayed with this man and wife, and now they have a “bouncing baby boy!” In addition, they are now followers of Jesus! 

From the second unreached tribe, which is 99% Muslim, 50 families benefitted through the food outreach. There is an ongoing Discovery Bible Study movement among 100 women from this tribe. The women were also empowered to make soap and cream which is sold at their local markets. Please pray with us that these women will discover the true person of Jesus the Messiah and commit their lives to following Him as their Lord and Savior.

One man from this tribe was unable to walk for 9 years, but during the course of the food outreach and engagement with him, he was healed and gave his life to Jesus. His brother also surrendered to Jesus! We trust God to do much more as the Discovery Bible Study groups evolve into obedient disciples and lead to indigenous church planting movements. This tribe has the potential for a movement to Christ, and we invite you to stand in the gap that this would happen, to the glory of our King.

Flood of a Different Kind

In a region consisting of many islands, with much of the population being of another religion, it is not easy to share the gospel. Recently, thunder and heavy rains affected two islands in the area. One of the islands is approximately 20% Christian, with many tribes and ethnic groups, and is open to the gospel. The other island is very difficult to reach with the gospel. To approach the local people there, Christians have done various things, including schools and clinics, trying to show the love of Christ and to help people.

With the heavy rains impacting these two islands, there was severe flooding and many problems with landslides. But in this special moment, some GCPN leaders were ready to bring a different kind of flooding to the islands – an outpouring of compassion and help. They got involved directly in the area, distributing meals and providing food packets. They sent teams from the church and Bible schools, including a medical team with doctors, and counselors for the victims. Only the believers provided help in these ways.

Please pray that a spiritual flood of God’s mercy and grace will come to these islands as people become familiar with what the believers have done to help. And pray that, as those who have suffered from these catastrophic events are touched with goodness, somehow they will open their hearts and that it will become easier to plant churches later.

The papers were “waving” at him

As we near the end of a tumultuous year when the world has been so affected by the coronavirus pandemic, we are reminded that God’s power and creativity to reach people is not quarantined, isolated, or under any “stay at home” order. His Spirit is still working and active, even when we are not aware of what he is using to accomplish God’s purposes.

Members of the Global Church Planting Network facilitate rapidly multiplying house fellowships. In some parts of the world, house fellowships have birthed new house fellowships down to more than 20 generations in just a few years. Field leaders track this growth through ministry report charts. A field leader who is at high risk for COVID-19 is limiting his travel at this time. He asked another person, “DD,” to pick up some ministry report charts from a leader in his area and send them to him, but DD delayed in sending the charts. When the field leader asked for them again, DD still delayed.

Eventually, the field leader found out that DD was afraid of the papers! He told the field leader that the stack of papers would often “wave at him” like they were blown by wind, but there was no wind. He moved the papers to other places in his home, but the papers continued to “wave.” He was terrified. One day he decided he needed to get those reports out of his possession as quickly as possible. Embarrassed and fearful, DD took the papers to the field leader and asked, “What power or spirit is in these papers?” DD told the field leader that the papers “waved” no matter where in the house he placed them. He asked the field leader what the symbols in the reports meant, such as, “How do you get a star by your initials?” The field leader explained that those with a “star” by their initials were people who put their faith in Jesus as Saviour and were baptized. DD and the field leader continued their discussions, and DD recently received Jesus as Saviour and is being mentored by a group leader.

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8, NIV)

 

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